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The Secrets that Successful Powder Coaters Don’t Want Others to Know

secret1  There’s an old saying in sales training that says, “The customer won’t always tell you everything”.  It’s used to make a point to sales staff to learn to ask questions.  In the world of powder coating, it seems that many at the top of the food chain have their own secrets.  Although not a “rule” by any means, there seem to be a few commonalities amongst successful powder coaters.  When talking about successful powder coaters, I’m not referring to the guy in his garage who is using baggies of scrap powder he found online with homemade equipment; I’m talking about the guys and gals who are doing $30,000 + per month in business and are presenting themselves and are recognized as quality powder coating specialists.  And let’s face it, no one aspires to be the part time guy who’s powder coating as a hobby with mediocre quality and making a few extra dollars per month.  We aspire to follow in the footsteps of the success stories.  The ones who changed their family tree.  It’s an exclusive club and they aren’t going out of their way to help bring others (thus competition) into the club.  Perhaps that’s why they are so secretive about a few things….

The first thing powder coater’s don’t tell you is just how easy it actually is to do.  I’ve trained thousands of people from around the world and one of the first observations I hear every time we begin the hands on session is “Wow!!  This is easier than I thought”.  And let’s be honest, if it weren’t so easy to do, there wouldn’t be hundreds of “shops” thrown together in garages around the country.  Now those “shops” NEVER compete against the real powder coating business.  They know enough to be dangerous and their quality (or lack thereof) tends to show.  They seldom last very long.  But the point it, the actual application of powder is so easy that everyone thinks they can do it.  Ground and charge.  It’s the only two things needed to make powder stick.  And if you want to see just how simple it is, come to one of my classes and try it for yourself.  www.powderx.com/training/.  And bring a part to coat!!

It really doesn’t matter how easy powder coating is to do if you can’t make money doing it.  Most of us have enough to keep us busy without adding another “hobby” to our list.  One of the other secrets that the upper echelon of powder coaters doesn’t share is the actual profit margins that are built into their services.  Price is set by supply and demand…what the market will bear.  Sure, there’s always the contingency in any industry that try to go “cheap” but they seldom survive because of a clear lack of business acumen.  Always be known as the best…never as the cheapest.  Recent feedback from surveys of coaters from around the United States show that most of them are running 30% + AFTER tax profits.  Numbers that are unheard of in many industries.  One example would be a customer who purchased a batch package from Powder-X in late 2014.  They actually attended my class in early December 2014 while their equipment was being delivered.  The equipment size was nothing out of the norm (8′ x 8′ x 20′ oven – probably the most popular size we sell).  Their geographic location is nothing spectacular.  The population in their city is less than 40,000 and they are over an hour from the nearest “big city”.  In 2015, their first full year in business, they invoiced $750,000 at a profit margin of just over 60%.  They have already expanded  by opening a facility in another city.  Although their journey might not be typical, it does show what hard work, surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people, using the right equipment and supplies, and a solid sales and marketing plan can be capable of accomplishing.

Have you ever wondered why many powder coaters have lead times that often approach 2+ weeks?  Your parts are typically spending less than an hour inside the oven.  Unless your part is being blasted, the chemical wash process tends to be 15 min or less.  So what’s taking so long?  What you’re not being told is that, in many cases, it takes so long to get your parts complete because they simply have more business than they can do in a timely manner.  Powder coating is still in its infancy as a technology.  We were the first company to ever sell BATCH powder coating packages (and did so for over 5 years before anyone else came along and tried to copy the model) and that was only 16 years ago!!  The market simply is nowhere near saturated with professional powder coaters.  And with new regulations that are squeezing other finishing applications more and more, coupled with the fact that consumers are learning how much better powder is as a finish.  It’s a matter of supply and demand.  It’s like they are trying to hide the goose that lays the golden eggs.  But there’s still potential for plenty of eggs to go around.

Is all of this meant to suggest that you should pull your powder coating from your current vendor and bring it in house?  Those are decisions only YOU can make and should be based on quality, lead time, cost, and numerous other factors.  Is this meant to suggest that everyone who opens a powder coating business is going to make dump trucks full of money?  Of course not.  Let’s face it, some actually FAIL!  There are no guarantees for success in any business and those who claim to there are should be avoided.  There is no magic pill. Without hard work, smart work, a good knowledge, training, and the correct tools, your chances of success diminish greatly.  Prepare to succeed or prepare to fail.  And with a little luck, maybe you will have a few secrets yourself.

 

Joey

 

Joey Golliver is the President of JGE, Inc. and CEO of Powder-X Coating Systems  He has 30 years of experience in the powder coating industry.  Joey teaches monthly powder coating classes and can also be found speaking at industry events or in his role as consultant to over a half-dozen cable television programs.  His down-to-earth demeanor and common sense approach to business make spots in his classes one of the most sought after in the world.  He can be reached for additional information at www.powderx.com/contact/

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